Att rädda det förgångna: Om Walter Benjamins historiska materialism
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
The present essay concerns Walter Benjamin’s thought regarding history and temporality as he articulated it in his last work that was only published posthumously: ”Über den Begriff der Geschichte”. The purpose is to analyze Benjamin’s construction of historical materialism and to suggest a reading of it as directed towards an opening of history. For Walter Benjamin, every moment presents itself as a possibility of radical otherness: a possibility for things to be different. In this essay, I therefore want to concentrate on key concepts constituting such possibility, namely, remembrance [Eingedenken] and redemption [Erlösung]. I will further examine their relation to the specific experience of the past. Following Benjamin, in this essay I am constructing a critique of positivist concepts of linear time and Marxist teleology in regard to history and temporality. Another purpose is to establish an alternative concept of history and temporality as it is to be found in Benjamin’s own thought. Furthermore, the essay seeks to engage in a dialog with Benjamin’s historical reflection in an attempt of capturing the Benjaminian concepts of dialectical image and now-time [Jetztzeit] and by doing this to envisage a genuine break from the notion of historical progress. In presenting such a break as a possibility of opening up history, I seek to raise the question of political action [Aktion]. As demonstrated in the essay, the notion of action, its ethics and politics, is to be found, both implicitly and explicitly, in the way Benjamin develops the persona of the historical materialist and in his concept of redemption, but the analysis must start with a thorough investigation of the concept of remembrance [Eingedenken], without which Benjamin’s meaning cannot be understood.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 42 p.
Walter Benjamin, history, temporality, redemption, remembrance, action, historical materialism, messianism, now-time
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-24361OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-24361DiVA: diva2:738267
Subject / course
Sandomirskaja, Irina, Professor
Ruin, Hans, Professor